Diamond 32: Give Me Freedom
Diamond 32: Give Me Freedom
It was daytime, but the room was dark and depressing, all the windows were closed. It didn't matter, the day was dark outside anyway, with heavy rain and gray skies. There was no harsh wind, the world wasn't angry, it was sad. That was all Delia felt; she had no room left for more. She was back at the Viridian Gym, the place she might have once called home, but the word didn't fit it anymore.
Giovanni was busy, his proposal, which she didn't get a chance to answer, had been forgotten for the time being. After Leah's sudden attack everything dissolved into chaos and many lives were lost. The aftermath was finally settling in.
Delia stood from her bed and dug out an envelope from a drawer filled with copies of her favorite pictures. She kept meaning to make an album and never got around to it, she probably never would. The plain white envelope contained pictures of happier times; the first she took out was a picture of Giovanni and herself on the day of the victory party when Madame Boss has visited. She had given Giovanni her resources that time, only because she knew he didn't really need them at that point, then she went away.
The next day a box had been delivered to the gym in the mail, it had no sender address, but it got safely through security and was given to Giovanni. The box contained a glass ornament with a small yellow sticky note that read 'to brat boy from mommy', Delia wondered where it was; Giovanni probably got rid of it. Madame must have sent it to annoy him. The ornament was a glass orb with a strange color changing glow inside it, mounted on a polished but aged metal base. The inscription on the base read 'anima: verus mysterium' which translated to 'soul: true mystery.'
That was a different time filled with wonderful hopes and dreams nothing like Delia's current worries and nightmares. Giovanni was stressed arranging a cover up and making up for the lost resources, while getting rid of incriminating evidence. All of that affected Delia greatly.
She turned the TV on and changed the channels to display the morning news, where they were talking about the weather. She left the TV on and continued thinking about the disaster, unable to push it out of her mind. The ship carrying the prisoners had been destroyed, the bodies drowned or charred depending on what level of the deck they were kept in. Han and his followers were bad people, Delia had concluded, but they didn't deserve that, they didn't deserve to helplessly die a painful death. Leah died along with them, despite it all, she was still a dear friend to Delia and she would never return.
For all Delia knew, Aayla could be dead as well, drowned probably. She was strong, inhumanly so, but Delia had grown tired of hoping for a miracle, her hope was dead and she no longer held on to its ghost. The deaths of Leah, Han, his allies and captain Adoy were confirmed. Aayla's mutated body had not been found, but that was not enough to make Delia believe she survived. Luke spent the entire ordeal in his cell, curled up into a ball in a corner. He didn't look up at the chaos, noise and alarm, he remained motionless, he was breathing, but inside, he was lifeless.
The weather woman finished her report and the image on the TV changed to the main anchorman of the morning news. He was giving an update about a supposed terrible accident. Delia watched the TV as the man reported, "it has been confirmed that the S.S. Lapras, a cargo ship captained by Windu Adoy, sunk two days ago. The vessel, that normally followed a trade route between Fuchsia City and Cinnabar Island, sunk several miles south of its normal route. It is unknown why the ship was in that location, but a terrorist take over by the same organization that attacked the volcano known as Princess at Cinnabar Island is suspected. It has been determined that the S.S. Lapras sunk due to the harsh storm that assaulted the area on the night when the ship went missing two days ago. The coast guard is making an effort to further investigate and recover the bodies of the crew. Tune in to our evening news for a further update on the situation."
The anchorman made a small pause then continued on with the next report, "in other news, a series of petty robberies have been reported in a small stores and households all over at Cinnabar Island. Peculiarly, only food was stolen, though there has been some minor property damage. Ameda is at Cinnabar Island to bring us more information."
The image changed from the anchorman in the gray suit and blue tie sitting behind an immaculate white desk, to a field reporter. The reporter was a woman in a maroon suit, who shared the same shade of light brown hair and green eyes as the anchorman. She was his younger sister, who was rumored to have been hired by the news channel simply because of her brother's position.
She smiled at the camera, a little too cheerfully to fit the topic of her report. The background showed the main street of Cinnabar Island with stores lining it. Several people stood next to the reporter, waiting to express their worries and lack of trust in the Cinnabar Island police. "Thank you Jango, I am here with-" Delia turned off the TV cutting Ameda off at mid sentence.
The cover up seemed to be going alright. Regardless of how strange it was for a ship belonging to an experienced sailor to sink, it could be attributed to a lack of sailing knowledge on the part of the terrorists. The police wouldn't dig too deeply into that logic and Delia knew it. They wouldn't try to make sense of the state of the sunken ship, if they even bothered to further study how the hull could have been perforated and the deck damaged. Even if the signs of a battle were obvious, it could all be attributed to the situation of the hijacked ship.
The fact that some of the bodies were burned when they were dumped at the site where the S.S. Lapras sank would not be questioned either, it was just an unnecessary complication to add to the restlessness of the already stressed population of Cinnabar Island. It would only make their anxiety spread to Kanto and that was bad publicity. The authorities would come up with an explanation saying there was a fire on deck or something like that. New Island wasn't mentioned at all and Delia didn't expect it to be. That was the real Team Rocket and to them what had happened was only a set back. It was a catastrophe of resources and a strain of influences, but not a true loss as deep as it was for some.
Delia didn't know what kind of fate would befall Luke, he was probably still being held prisoner somewhere. Unless it was decided that due to his proximity to the massacre and his connection with the deceased, he knew too much and the risk of having him talk was too great. Perhaps he was already dead. Yet all Delia could do was try to help Giovanni keep things running smoothly to prevent another betrayal that would lead to tragedy. She had lost too much already and didn't want to lose him too.
"What have I become?" Delia looked in the mirror, she was exhausted despite having slept; her slumber was as restless as ever. Her eyes were red from crying in her sleep and she felt lost in the middle of everything. What could she do? Continue trying to persuade Giovanni to be good while he continued to turn her into someone she disapproved of? He had changed, but no where near as much as she had and she could no longer deny it.
That was how the days passed; Delia was quiet, but effective in her job. She was playing her part, gathering information, reporting suspicious activities and supervising that everything at the Viridian Gym headquarters ran smoothly when Giovanni was busy. She also trained his pokemon so that he may step into the role of gym leader effortlessly whenever he needed to keep up appearances.
Delia felt sick with herself and the situation around her, but she didn't protest. If Giovanni noticed her discomfort at all, he was too occupied to say anything. He had no complaints at least; she was doing her job well. Perhaps he was pleased with her performance, but to her it was only that, a forced act.
It was on one of those mornings after Giovanni had gone off to work, that Delia stayed behind a little longer fighting with her morning sickness. It was a product of stress, she was sure. She always managed to hide it from him; she didn't want to bother Giovanni when he was so busy. She wanted to be as strong as he expected her to be.
Delia dug through the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, searching for some over-the-counter remedy and came across a little box. It was a pregnancy test she kept on hand just in case. She had never suffered any false alarms before, it's not like she was careless. Except for maybe their Cinnabar Island holiday when she was unprepared. She tossed it back in the bottom of the cabinet and grabbed a bottle of pills she knew were at least good against the flu. She read the label on the back wondering if they would be of any help against her symptoms. She stopped reading, as if something clicked in the back of her mind and counted the days in her head. She set the bottle aside and picked up the box with the pregnancy test again; it couldn't be, not now.
xoxox xox xoxox
Five more days passed and Delia had confirmed her suspicions. The atmosphere at the Viridian Gym was not as tense as in the past week, but still a little heavy. People were getting used to being evaluated more harshly and watched more closely. Soon Team Rocket's new structure would be completely stabilized, then it would be time to leave.
Delia had asked Giovanni about the possibility of Team Rocket ever changing. He told her it would only change to become stronger and she knew what that meant, "I truly wish you the best," was all she could offer as a reply. She didn't argue, she didn't insist, she was facing reality. No more justifying Team Rocket, no more clinging to impossible wishes, it was over.
Delia left after deciding that she couldn't take Team Rocket's criminal ways anymore and she would not even attempt to raise a child in that environment. She took very few things with her. She left her pokemon to Giovanni, he was the gym leader and she had no reason to battle anymore. She took some pictures, precious memories and she took her jewelry box. She didn't take the jewels because of their monetary value, but because of the significance of each diamond and gem within the golden box. Whenever she looked at them she would remember the happy occasion in which she received them. The memory accompanying what would have been her engagement ring was bittersweet, it was a time full of sorrow, but at least he asked, even if it was seemingly forgotten soon after.
She waited until things were stable at Team Rocket, making sure to keep her pregnancy a secret. She couldn't leave until she knew everything would be alright. Or at least, if not alright, things would be how Giovanni intended them to be. Then one night she wrote a letter with a sincere apology for leaving. She assured him she had a good reason to leave, one that she wished he would understand one day, but she didn't elaborate on her reason for leaving. She wrote that she still loved him and wished him the best. In her mind the best would be for him to change the path he chouse to walk and if that did not happen, she at least wished that he would be safe and happy regardless of what he decided to do.
xoxox xox xoxox
Without a real plan, Delia went back to the only place she could think of going: Pallet Town. The following morning Professor Oak found her when he went to check the mail. She was sitting in front of his house having dozed off after a full night of walking to get from Viridian City to Pallet Town. "Delia!"
She woke up at the worried voice, sad that she must have disappointed the professor. "Professor Oak, can I...? Is it okay if...? Can I stay here for a while?" Delia finally pushed the question out in a shaky voice.
"Of course, let's go inside," Professor Oak immediately agreed with gentle concern, "we can have some breakfast and you can tell me what happened."
It was the start of a whole new era in Delia's life. She stayed at Professor Oak's house for some time, until she was able to establish the Pallet House, the only restaurant in Pallet Town. She had decided not to be a pokemon researcher or trainer anymore. She still loved pokemon, but she needed a break from anything that reminded her of the past and cooking had always helped her relax.
Delia was certain that Giovanni must have known where to find her. He had been to Pallet Town before and he knew Professor Oak was like a father to her. It was easy to guess where she would go. He made no effort to find her. Maybe he never forgave her for leaving, maybe he felt betrayed by the only one he thought he could trust, maybe he thought it would be too troublesome to try to keep her around, maybe his trust had been irreparably broken, maybe he just stopped caring, maybe they were better off apart. Delia honestly had no idea what Giovanni could have thought and felt when he read her letter, but in the end he let her go.
xoxox xox xoxox
Even before she gave birth, Delia would refer to her baby as Ash. She wasn't sure where the name came from; perhaps it was because the baby would be born from the ashes of her past life. Or maybe it was because of her wish to be reborn from the ashes and rise above adversity, like in one of the legends about Moltres. She had a feeling it would be a boy, though if it had been a girl, she would have named her Ashley.
Months passed and Delia's little boy was finally born, he came a bit early, at 10:10am on May 22, but he was healthy. When she first saw him after birth, she thought about giving him a more cheerful name than Ash, but she had already grown used to calling him Ash. If anyone asked her where the name came from, Delia simply said she liked the name and thought it sounded cool. She never gave anyone any further explanations and everyone knew not to ask too many questions.
xoxox xox xoxox
Time went on and Delia got used to her new way of life with Ash. It wasn't easy, but she managed to get through life one day at a time and her son always made her smile. When Ash was four years old, Delia received a mysterious letter, which had been sent to Professor Oak. She was at his house when he told her about the letter after taking Ash to play with Gary.
"I didn't know what to think of it at first," Professor Oak admitted. "That envelope with your name on it came inside another envelope addressed to me. Well, it only said Professor Oak, Pallet Town, Kanto. But when it comes to Pallet Town, not much else other than the name of the town and the recipient are needed for the letter to get to the right place," it was a benefit of living in a small town where everyone knew everyone, including the mailman. "There was also a note," Professor Oak showed Delia the note, clearly puzzled by it, wondering if she would be able to make sense of the peculiar correspondence.
Delia held the sealed envelope with her name on one hand and the note for Professor Oak in the other, reading curiously. "Hi, Oak dude, could you like please give this to Delia? I'm like not sure if she's like in Pallet, but I like thought you would like know how to find her, you know? Thanks, man! -Luke." Her eyes went wide in surprise; leave it to Luke to write the same way he spoke. "It's from Luke; it has to be real, who else would write like this?"
"I guess this means you know him?" Professor Oak only knew Binks and Giovanni from Team Rocket, but the team was far from his mind at the time. If Team Rocket wanted anything with Delia, they would have stormed into Pallet Town a long time ago, she wasn't really hiding.
Delia hastily tore the envelope open to see what Luke had written to her. "Luke is a friend from... a long time ago."
Professor Oak didn't inquire about it anymore. He didn't ask about anything beyond what Delia was willing to tell, but he knew the words 'a long time ago' meant Team Rocket. When she first arrived, she would get defensive if he did as much as mention Giovanni's name in a disapproving tone and would go over all his redeeming qualities in response. Though they went they're separate ways, Delia didn't want anyone to criticize Giovanni. Thus Professor Oak concluded that maybe it was best not to bring up the subject unless absolutely necessary. Either way, Delia had done well in handling things despite all that she had gone through, most of which would forever remain unknown to Professor Oak.
Delia silently read the letter and she couldn't help it but to smile at Luke's style of writing. "Hey Delia, I like hope you're well dudette. It's been like forever, but I hope you like get this letter, you know? I guess that if you're like reading this, you like got it. I'm okay, I like apologized to," there was a smudge of messily erased pencil, the outline of the letter G still somewhat visible, "you-know-who, and he like later let me go on missions. The missions are like really hard, but I'm okay, you know? I want to like be like before, you know? Like trusted, you know? Between missions I'm like training this totally awesome Beedrill that I'm like going to give you-you-who as a present. Sorry I can't like visit, you-know-who might get like angry if I do, you know?' There was a big smear following that sentence, as if Luke had started writing something more, changed his mind and erased it all. He ended the letter with, "I like hope you're okay, good luck dudette," and signed his name.
Luke was kept prisoner and later sent on dangerous, possibly suicidal, missions, but he was alive. That was the only letter Delia ever got from her past, and she could not reply to it. Luke had left her no address to reply to, but she was still thankful she had received his letter.
Ever since that fateful night when Delia and Giovanni met in the Cerulean City Pokemon Center, many things happened and many things changed. Delia knew she would never be completely free of her past, but she knew she would treasure it. Perhaps true freedom was not in the ability to forget, but in choosing to remember.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. The name of Delia's restaurant came from a manga and Ash's birthday is from a novel. Next up we'll have some bonus chapters before we return to the present to continue the story. There are still many things to tell and as you might have already guessed from all the hints in the beginning, Delia and Giovanni will eventually meet again.